Friday, 5 December 2008

The Joy of Kids

My sixteen year-old son wanted a moped for his birthday. I hate bikes with a passion; they are unsafe blah blah. My son wanted independence blah blah. You know all the arguments, I'm sure. So, we compromised: he got his moped; I got a stomach ulcer.

Last night, he went to a mate's house. "I'll be home by ten, at the latest."

At five past ten, I was clock-watching. At ten past ten, I was imagining all the reasons why he might be late: bike trouble; abduction by aliens; dead in a ditch. At a quarter past ten, I was ready to call out the paramedics (for me). So, I broke the cardinal 'don't-suffocate-me' rule, and I rang him.

"Where are you?"
"Still at Aiden's house. Why?"
"Because it's gone ten o'clock. And you're not home. Have you any idea what that's doing to my blood pressure?"
"Oh, God. Sorry. We got into this deep conversation about parents, and I was just telling Aiden what a wonderful Mum you are. Are you very angry?"
" can't be now, can I?"

You see, contrary to popular belief (and some wise-assed medical myth) the umbilical cord is never actually severed. It just stretches. A lot. Mums feel everything their child feels. Honestly. Their pain is your pain; their misery is your misery; their nits are their own, however. I don't know if Dads feel this connection; I've never known one stay around long enough to ask.

So, we stress about our kids; we experience their anguish; we take the backlash when they've just been dumped, or bullied, or annoyed. What do Mums get out of this deal, I hear you wonder? That's easy: grey hair, frown-lines and a nervous disposition.

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